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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

172

Seminars on Theoretical English Grammar

Questions:

1.What is specific to the categories of person and number in English?

2.What enables scholars to identify six number-personforms of the verb in English?

3.What does the person-numberdeficiency of the finite regular verb en tail?

4.What does the immanent character of the category of tense imply?

5.What is the main weak point of the traditional "linear" interpretation of tenses?

6.What are the theoretical advantages of identifying in English two sepa rate tense categories?

*7. What is the main point of difference between the two categories of tense: the category of primary time and the category of prospect? 8. What categorial meanings do continuous forms and non-continuousforms express?

^9. What category do the perfect forms express?

10.What accounts for the peculiar place of the category of voice among the verbal categories?

11.What makes the expression of voice distinctions in English specific? *12. What complicates the analysis of English mood forms?

v13. What does the category of mood express?

14.What features of mood forms should be taken into account to give a full picture of English moods?

15.What is the status of the so-called"imperative mood" in English?

I. Dwell upon the categorial features of the verbs in the following sentences:

a)

1."Well, I am an honest man, though not a very rich one. I only gave 15 shillings for the bust, and I think you ought to know that before I take 18 pounds from you." (Doyle)

2.I thought you might be interested to meet Mr. Anstruther. He knows something of Belgium. He has lately been hearing news of your convent (Christie).

3."Oh She, as thou art great be merciful, for I am now as ever thy servant to obey." (Haggard)

4."What is it?" she said confusedly. "What have I been saying?" "It is nothing," said Rose. "You are tired. You want to rest. We will leave you." (Christie)

5.In one of my previously published narratives I mentioned that Sherlock Holmes had acquired his violin from a pawnbroker in the Tottenham

iminar 7. Verb and Its Categories

173

 

Court Road, for the sum of 55 shillings. To those who know the value of a Stradivarius, it will be obvious that I was being less than candid about the matter (Hardwick). 6. Perhaps she wasn't an actress at all. Perhaps the police were looking for

her (Christie).

b)

1."I think, Mr. Holmes, it is time that we were leaving for Euston." "I will order a four-wheeler.In a quarter of an hour we shall be at your

service." (Doyle)

2."What he will divulge I cannot tell, but I have no doubt that your Grace could make him understand that it is to his interest to be silent. From the police point of view he will have kidnapped the boy for the purpose

of ransom." (Doyle)

,3. "Hast thou aught to ask me before thou goest, oh Holly?" she said,

after a few moments' reflection (Haggard). ', 4. "Mr. Holmes!" cried Mrs. Hudson indignantly. "How many times have

I said that I won't tolerate your indoor shooting?" (Hardwick) I; 5. By the way, I shall be grateful if you will replace this needle. It is getting

rather blunt (Hardwick). ' 6. She wondered if any Warrenders lived here still. They'd left off being

buried here apparently (Christie).

c)

1.My future is settled. I am seeing my lawyer tomorrow as it is necessary that I should make some provision for Mervyn if I should pre-deceasehim which is, of course, the natural course of events (Christie).

2."Yes, it was old Mrs. Carraway. She's always swallowing things."

(Christie)

't'3. "Wouldn't you like something? Some tea or some coffee perhaps?..." "No, no, not even that. We shan't be stopping very much longer."

(Christie)

4."Oh! It's lovely. It's too good for me, though. You'll be wanting it your self-"(Christie)

5."Somebody was being poisoned last time we were here, I remember," said Tuppence (Christie).

6.A lot of signposts are broken, you know, and the council don't repair them as they should (Christie).

d) 1. "A year and a half -"She paused. "But I'm leaving next month."

(Christie)

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

174

Seminars on Theoretical English Grammar

2."Well, you see, Mrs. Beresford, one needs a change -""But you'll be doing the same kind of work?" (Christie)

3.She picked up the fur stole. "I'm thanking you again very much - and I'm glad, too, to have something to remember Miss Fanshawe by." (Christie)

4.I wish you were coming with me (Christie).

5.Will you be wanting some sandwiches? (Christie)

6.It was a funny way to partition it (the house), I should have thought. I'd have thought it would have been easier to do it the other way (Christie).

II.Comment upon the reduced verbal forms:

a)

1

"Holmes, we have never had a case such as this. A woman comes to us - is brought to us - with a problem of some sort... We don't know who she is, nor what her problem may be. Isn't that the kind of challenge you're always praying will come your way?" (Hardwick)

2."I seem to feel that what you've been saying from the beginning is that a human being doesn't live, but is lived." (Saroyan)

3.It went down very well in the States. They were liking that kind of thing just then (Christie).

4."Yes, a lift," said Dr Meynell, trying to think of something else even more dashing - and failing. "Then we shall avoid all undue exertion. Daily exercise on the level on a fine day, but avoid walking up hills." (Christie)

b)

1."You would like some hot water, wouldn't you?" said Miss Jellyby, looking round for a jug with a handle to it, but looking in vain. "If it is not being troublesome," said we. "Oh, it's not the trouble," returned Miss Jellyby; "the question is, if there is any." (Dickens)

2."Might one ask," inquired Holmes, "where you propose going?" (Hardwick)

3."I'm going with you," she said. "Nonsense, my dear; I go straight into the city. I can't have you racketing about!" (James)

4."It's not like Jolyon to be late!" he said to Irene, with uncontrollable vexation. "I suppose it'll be June keeping him." (Galsworthy)

c)

1.And you can't talk about such things to men you meet in hotels - they're looking just for such openings (O.Henry).

175

BWiinar 7. Verb and Its Categories

1. The thousand and one stories are being told every day by hundreds of \ thousands of viziers' daughters to their respective sultans (O.Henry).

,3. The next morning at 11 o'clock when I was sitting there alone, an Uncle Tom shuffles into the hotel and asks for the doctor to come and see Judge Banks, who, it seems was the mayor and a mighty sick man

(O.Henry).

4.In an adjoining room a woman was cooking supper. Odors from strong bacon and boiling coffee contended against the cut-plugfumes from

the vespertine pipe. Outside was one of those crowded streets of the east side, in which, as twilight falls, Satan sets up his recruiting office. A mighty host of children danced and ran and played in the street. Some in rags, some in clean white and beribboned, some wild and restless as young hawks, some gentle-facedand shrinking, some shrieking rude and sinful words, some listening, awed, but soon, grown familiar, to embrace - here were the children playing in the corridors of the House

of Sin. Above the playground forever hovered a great bird (O.Henry).

d)

'1. She then said, "I'm not going to bother to introduce anybody to you just because Luther's going along to catch a train for Boston in a little

while..." (Saroyan)

»2. "If you will get her to ask one question about the new winter styles in cloak sleeves I will promise you a one-in-fivechance for her, instead of^; one in ten." (O.Henry) |; 3. "Mayor's color and pulse was fine. I gave him another treatment, and f ^ he said the last of the pain left him." (O.Henry)

I 4. Mr. Hubber was coming at seven to take their photograph for the Christmas card (Cheever).

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

___ ^..guoii \jjctmmar

The first sentence is interrogative and its rheme "what have ... got" is infbrmationally open. As it is a special question, the nucleus of inquiry is marked by the interrogative pronoun which is the rhematic peal. The theme of the sentence is "you". The second sentence is elliptical and rhematic. The rhematic peak of the answer ("His book") is the reverse substitute of the interrogative pronoun. As the two sentences make up a thematic unity, the theme in the answer is zeroed.

a)

1."I'd like to know what you think of her. Go and see Dr. Rose first." (Christie)

2.Why not walk down to the village after tea? (Christie)

3."I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce at any rate one parent, of either sex, before season is quite over." (Wilde)

4.Suppose you fetch your bricks and build a nice house, or an engine (Christie).

5."The Duke is greatly agitated - and as to me, you have seen yourself the state of nervous prostration to which the suspense and the responsi bility have reduced me." (Doyle)

6."Mr. Holmes, if ever you put forward your full powers, I implore you to do so now." (Doyle)

7."I beg you, Mr. Holmes, to do what you can." (Doyle)

8."You will kindly close the door," said Holmes. "Now, Banister, will you please tell us the truth about yesterday's incident?" (Doyle)

9."Would you please remain in the room? Stand over there near the bed room door. Now, Soames, I am going to ask you to have the great kindness to go up to the room of young Gilchrist, and to ask him to step down into yours." (Doyle)

10 Can the leopard change his spots?

b)

1."I wonder why you never answered her letter." (Maugham)

2.Over the breakfast she grew serious (Lawrence).

3."We can be perfectly frank with each other. We want to know, Mr. Gilchrist, how you, an honorable man, ever came to commit such an action as that of yesterday?" (Doyle)

4."You will show these gentlemen out, Mrs. Hudson, and kindly send the boy with this telegram. He is to pay a five-shillingreply." (Doyle)

5."I wish you, Mr. Holmes, to come to Mackleton with me by the next train." (Doyle)

Seminar 10. Actual Division of the Sentence

273

6."You will kindly sign that paper, Mr. Sandeford, in the presence of

these witnesses." (Doyle)

7."I suppose you haven't such a thing as a carriage in your stables?" (Doyle)

8."Tell us about your last talk with Dr. Wilbour." (Schrieber)

9.Paul felt as if his eyes were coming very wide open. Wasn't he to take Clara's fulminations so seriously, after all? (Lawrence)

10."I hope you won't let him keep the stocking." "You are not going to tell me everything I shall do, and everything I shan't." (Lawrence)

c)

1.Oh, Mr. Holmes, you must save him - you must save him! I tell you

'that you must save him! (Doyle)

2."Mrs. Hudson," I said, going out to her, "I want you to pack my bags, please." (Hardwick)

3.I suppose you were in a convent? (Hemingway)

4."Listen," George said to Nick. "You better go see Ole Anderson." (Hem ingway)

5.Thanks for coming to tell me about it (Hemingway).

6.Don't you want me to go and see the police? (Hemingway)

7."Why don't you try to go to sleep?" (Hemingway)

8."Don't be melodramatic, Harry, please," she said (Hemingway).

9."How do you feel?" she said. "All right." (Hemingway)

10. "Who likes to be abused?" (Sheldon)

d)

1."You don't want to go mixing yourself up in things that are no business of yours -""There's nothing to be mixed up in according to you," said Tuppence. "So you needn't worry at all." (Christie)

2."And there are people who are terribly unhappy, who can't help being unhappy. But what else is one to do, Tommy?" "What can anyone do except be as careful as possible." (Christie)

3."No, I don't want you to go. After all, the last time, remember how frightfully rude she was to you?" (Christie)

4.Would you like to come up now? (Christie)

5."I'll put them (roses) in a vase for you," said Miss Packard. "You won't do anything of the kind." (Christie)

6."You go away," added Aunt Ada as a kind of postscript, waving her hand towards Tuppence who was hesitating in the doorway (Christie).

7."I hope they brought you some coffee?" (Christie)

8."The old lady I was talking to," said Tuppence. "Mrs. Lancaster, I think she said her name was?" (Christie)

i18 - 3548

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

4. Why don't lexical gender markers annul the grammatical character of

ariar 5. Noun and Its Categories

115

English gender?

''Isn't Ida's head a dead ringer forthe

5. Why is the interpretation of the categorial meaning of the nounal plural

lady's head on the silver dollar?" (O.Henry)

 

form as "more than one" considered not well grounded?

He had been away from New York for more than eight months and

6. What is the modern interpretation of the categorial semantics of the plu

most of the dance music was unfamiliar to him, but at the first bars of

ral form of the noun?

|he "Painted Doll", to which he and Caroline had moved through so

' 7. What makes the category of case in English disputable? > 8. What are

much happiness and despair the previous summer, he crossed to Caro-

the strong and weak points of the "prepositional", "positional", and

line's table and asked her to dance (Fitzgerald).

 

"postpositional" case theories? 9. What ensures a peculiar status of "-s"?

 

 

 

10. What are the main approaches to the treatment of the article?

b)

 

'11. What shows the intermediate (between the word and the morpheme) sta-

 

And then followed the big city's biggest shame, its most ancient and

tus of the article?

12. What does the oppositional representation of the articles reveal? •

rotten surviving canker... handed down from a long-ago century of the

'basest barbarity- the Hue and Cry (O.Henry). He mentioned what he

13. What are the categorial meanings of the three articles?

had said to the aspiring young actress who had stopped him in front

 

I. Account for the article determination of the given casal phrases:

ofSardi's and asked quite bluntly if she should persist in her ambition to

go on the stage or give up and go home (Saroyan). The policeman's mind

a) a soldier's bag, a ten miles' forest, the Prime Minister's speech;

refused to accept Soapy even as a clue. Men who smash windows do

b) Travolta's first role, expensive teenagers' T-shirts,the man who was

not remain to parley with the law's minions (O.Henry).

 

run over yesterday's daughter;

I've heard you're very fat these days, but I know it's nothing serious,

c) week's work, a new men's deodorant, a hundred miles' run;

and anyhow I don't care what happens to people's bodies, just so the

d) within a stone's throw, a child's dream, Christ's Church.

rest of them is O.K. (Saroyan).

 

 

"I dropped them flowers in a cracker-barrel,and let the news trickle in

11. Define the casal semantics of the modifying component in the underlined

my ears and down toward my upper left-handshirt pocket until it got

phrases and account for their determination:

to my feet." (O.Henry)

 

5.

She turned and smiled at him unhappily in the dim dashboard light

a)

(Cheever).

 

1. Two Negroes, dressed in glittering livery such as one sees in pictures of

c)

 

royal processions in London, were standing at attention beside the car

 

and as the two young men dismounted from the buggy they were greeted

Andy agreed with me, but after we talked the scheme over with the

in some language which the guest could not understand, but which seemed

hotel clerk we gave that plan up. He told us that there was only one way

to be an extreme form of the Southern Negro's dialect (Fitzgerald).

to get an appointment in Washington, and that was through a lady

2. Home was a fine high-ceiling apartment hewn fromthe palace of a Re

lobbyist (O.Henry).

 

naissance cardinal in the Rue Monsieur - the sort of thing Henry could

Nobody lived in the old Parker mansion, and the driveway was used as

not have afforded in America (Fitzgerald).

a lovers' lane (Cheever).

 

3. Wherefore it is better to be a guest of the law, which, though conducted

His eyes were the same blue shade as the china dog's inthe right-hand

by rules, does not meddle unduly with a gentleman's private affairs

corner of your Aunt Ellen's mantelpiece (O.Henry).

 

(O.Henry).

Pandemonium broke loose in the courtroom. A woman's scream rose

4. The two vivid years of his love for Caroline moved back around him

above the bedlam and suddenly a lovely, dark-hairedgirl was inWalter

like years in Einstein's physics (Fitzgerald).

Mitty's arms (Thurber).

 

 

"A man?" said Sue, with a jew's-harp twang in her voice (O.Henry).

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

234 Seminars on Theoretical English Grammar

The result is a situation that can be represented as in the table below. An interesting by-productof this table is the obvious complementary distribution of thenoun-formingderivational suffixes{-th}and{-ity}.Historical linguistics supplies a simple explanation of this: the adjectives which form nouns in{-th}are of native(Anglo-Saxon)stock, while those that form nouns in{-ity}are ultimately from Latin, borrowed into English either directly or by way of French.

There are a few base adjectives besides "good" which do not form adverbs in }: small, little, long, fast, ill, hard (hardly is best considered as a function word). A few more have related adverbs both in{-ly,}and without any suffix at all, hence identical with the adjective (theso-called"flat" adverbs):slow, quick, soft, clean.

Base

Noun in -

Adverb

Noun

Noun

Other

Adjec-

ness

in -ly

in -th

in -ity

Nouns

tives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dead

deadness

deadly

death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

true

trueness

truly

truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

young

youngness

youngly

youth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deep

deepness

deeply

depth

 

deep

 

 

 

 

 

 

sane

saneness

.sanely

 

sanity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sober

soberness

soberly

 

sobriety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rare

rareness

rarely

 

rarity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

safe

safeness

safely

 

safety

safe

 

 

 

 

 

 

human

humanness

humanly

humanity

human

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clear

clearness

clearly

 

clarity

clearing, clear

 

 

 

 

 

 

hot

hotness

hotly

 

 

heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

cold

coldness

coldly

 

 

cold

 

 

 

 

 

 

green

greenness

greenly

 

 

green

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Most base adjectives are of one syllable, and none have more than two syllables except a few that begin with a derivational prefix like {un-}:uncommon, inhuman.

(4) A fair number of base adjectives form verbs by adding the derivational suffix {-enj},the prefix{en-},or both:brighten, cheapen, enlarge, embitter, enlighten, enliven.

DERIVED ADJECTIVES. The other large class of adjectives, the derived adjectives, are those which are formed by the addition ofadjective-formingsuffixes to free or bound stems. There is a relatively large number of these suffixes, and the resulting array of adjectives is much larger than the class of base adjectives. The relative frequency of the two types varies a great deal from one type of discourse to another. Ordinary speech and simple prose tend to have few adjectives of any sort, with a preponderance of base adjectives; formal, technical, or "highbrow" speech and writing use more adjectives, with the derived type predominating. [...]

Some of the more important suffixes which form derived adjec-

tives are the following:

(a){-y}, added to oneand two-syllable nouns and bound stems, as in faulty, leafy, healthy, rickety, holy.

(b){-al},added to nouns and bound stems:/ata/,natural, nation

al, traditional, local, physical, racial.

(c) {-able},added to verbs and bound stems. This very common suffix is alive one which can be added to virtually any verb, thus giving rise to many new coinages andnonce-words.Since it is the descendant of an active derivational suffix in Latin, it also appears as part of many words borrowed from Latin or French. Examples formed from verbs:remarkable, understandable, adaptable, conceivable', ex amples formed from bound stems:viable, portable, capable, terrible, visible. Many words of both groups have related nouns formed by adding{-ity}to a special allomorph of{-able}:adaptability, capabil ity, visibility.

(d) {-ful}and{-less},added to nouns:hopeful, hopeless, useful,

useless, plentiful, penniless.

(e) {-ar},{-ary},{-ic},{-ish3},and{-ous},added to nouns and bound stems:columnar, popular, regular, legendary, literary, climat ic, comic, childish, lavish, marvelous, pernicious.

(f) {-ent}and{-ive},added to verbs and bound stems:abhorrent, significant, convenient, active, native, impulsive.

(g) {-en2}, added to nouns: woolen, waxen, oaken. [. ..]

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

300

Seminars on Theoretical English Grammar

We have been informed of the killing, vs.:They have informed us ...The whole of the sentence is subject to the speaker/writer's tendency towards comprehensibility and economy for the benefit of the hearer/reader, which is reflected by expansive, effective, circumstantial complex sentences, reductions, (pro)nominalizations, etc.:

Our ancestors stood up becausethey had foundmore useful things to_ do with their handsthan walking on them, vs.: They had found more useful things todo ...The things could be done with their hands(comprehensibility of expressing an explicative relation, reduction by means of to-phrase), they had found more useful things to do ... vs.: The things werevery useful to do... Walking on handswas not so useful (comprehensibility of expressing a comparative relation, reduction by means of ing-phrase), our vs.:the writer and the reader have ancestors (pronominalization by "we", comprehensibility of expressing an explicative relation, reduction by means of nominalization), they vs.:the ancestors (pronominalization by "they", not expressing a relation type). The speaker/writer's partner-oriented volition mainly concerns the verb phrase/verb and is reflected by modal verbs and their analogues, respectively:

Shall I put those on here?(obligation - command) ... the Well Hall...

should be made safe(obligation - advice) / am to speak to you

(obligation - invitation) May I ask you a question? (permission - polite)You can sleep here if you like (permission - informal) (2)Context-orientedrelations are, for instance, reflected through the speaker/writer's local and temporal situation within noun, adverbial and prepositional phrases, respectively. His local situation (person and locality) is reflected by pronouns, determiners, local adverbs, etc.:There were two others aboard that plane vs.: this plane A t first you think of it as just a matter of growing bigger vs.: I think of it Then I will be able to wear a small earring vs.: now I am able... His temporal situation (tense and temporality) is reflected by verbs, temporal adverbs, prepositions, etc.:

He's celebrating that period millions of yearsago when man's ancestorsgot up off all fours vs.:this period ...now when I get up... [...}

The verb phrase is again affected by the speaker/writer's valuation of the propositional content as possible, necessary, existent or

Seminar 10. Actual Division of the Sentence ...

301

not, as the case may be. This is reflected by mood, modal verbs and their analogues, adverbs, etc.:

Long live the workers' revolution!vs.: live

You may think of it as "learning tricks"(possibility) You 'vegot to wear boots as well(necessity)

It's really more complicated... than that(existence)

Within the verb phrase, the speaker/writer's affirmation and confirmation intensify or simply confirm an utterance. This is done by special finites in combination with stress and intonation:

/ longed to speak out, and in the end Idid speak. He was discretion itself. All top peopleare.

The war is really over, isn't it, eh Mother?

The speaker/writer's decision on countability, definiteness and comparability of objective quantity and quality concerns only noun and adjective, or adverb, respectively. It is reflected by number, determiners and degree of comparison:

substances... escaping... into food, water and the air vs.: in Britishwaters (countability)

... even if these tenants receivea subsidy ...the subsidy (definiteness) will only go to pay, or partly pay, those considerable rent rises.

Her face went white vs.: The washing waswhiter (comparability) than ever.

Countability may be looked upon from the aspects of continuity or discontinuity, that which is formless or has form, and thus is nonarticulate or articulate, and if so, mass or unit/specimen. These aspects are contained in the meaning of nouns and expressed by various types of determiners:

much water (continuous, formless,non-articulate,mass = noncountable) vs.:many people (discontinuous, having form, articulate, specimen = countable)

(3) Of speaker-orientedproperties, the speaker/writer'semotionality concerns sentence, phrase and word and is reflected by exclamation,re-orderingand by phonological/orthographical features:

"Good God!" I said. "Did I do that? ... I'm terribly sorry. " vs.: "Well, that may happen. Sorry. "

There were four people on the platform and the first of them . . . I recognized at once, vs.: I recognized the first of them at once.

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Блох М.Я. Семенова Т.Н. Тимофеева С.В. - Theoretical English Grammar. Seminars. Практикум по теоретической грамматике английского языка

2.What are the principles of identifying the primary passive, the secondary passive, and the tertiary passive?

3.How does M. Joos substantiate the syntactic relevance of the passive?

4.How does M. Joos characterize the English marked aspect?

5.What does M. Joos mean saying that the English generic aspect has no meaning of its own?

6.How does he define the meaning of the English temporary aspect in con trast to the similar language phenomena in other languages?

7.How does M. Joos treat the two primary tenses: the unmarked tense and the marked remote tense?

8.What does the term "phase" imply?

9.Why does he find the traditional term "perfect" misleading?

10.Why does M. Joos exclude the English perfect formulas from the system of tenses?

11.What peculiarities of "shall" and "will" does M. Joos point out?

5.

Francis W.N. The Structure

of American English

English verbs exhibit formal distinctions which can be classed under seven heads: person, tense, phase, aspect, mode, voice, and status.

Person

All English verbs except the modal auxiliaries (can, may, shall, will, dare, need) have 2 persons, which can be called "common" and "third singular". Verb forms consisting of base form +. -sinflection are in thethird-singularperson; all others (except certain forms of "be") are in the common person. The distribution of these 2 forms is governed by a type of correlation with the subject which grammarians call "concord". Concord may be defined as the complementary distribution of linguistic forms having the same syntactic function in systematic correlation with other formally distinct forms with which they are syntactically linked. Since this gives us two criteria of syntactic similarity and complementary distribution,

we have a structural situation similar to that of allophones and allomorphs. Concord is not so prominent in the structure of English as it is in some other languages, but it occasionally becomes important, as in the matter with which we are now dealing, the person of

verbs.

The distribution of the third-singularform of English verbs is quite complicated and exhibits some variation from one dialect to another. It can, however, be described in general terms as follows. Thethird-singularperson is used whenever a simple verb is the headverb in a predicate whose subject is one of the following:

(1)A noun for which "he", "she", or "it" may be substituted.

(2)One of the pronouns "he", "she", or "it".

(3)The function-nouns"this" or "that".

(4)A structure of modification of which one of the above is head.

(5)Any other part of speech besides a noun, or a structure of modification or complementation with such part of speech as head or verbal element.

(6)One of certain special structures of predication: the included clause and the infinitive clause.

(7)A structure of coordination in which the coordinator is "or, nor, (n)either... (n)or, or not (only)... but (also)" and in which the last coordinate element belongs to (l)-(6)above; also one

of certain other special structures of coordination.

These generalizations are admittedly imprecise. They have been so stated in the interests of brevity and because of dialectical and

individual variations.

The seven types of subjects correlating with third-singularverbs may be illustrated as follows:

(1)the man walks; the sun sets; snowfalls.

(2)he feels; she speaks; it comes (but note exceptions in watch it come).

(3)this looks good; that goes here.

(4)the tall man in the car drives; that in the dish tastes good.

(5)here seems like a good place; eating candy causes tooth decay.

(6)what I want costs money; how it got there remains a mystery.

(7)either his mistakes or his bad luck keep him poor; peace and quiet seems (or seem) unattainable.

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